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Langley High School The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

By • Apr 29th, 2013 • Category: Cappies

One actor enters the stage and delivers a well thought out, adroitly developed line. A few more filter on and do the same. Slowly, the stage fills with characters in distinguished groups, bathed in spotlight. They form cohesive units for many reasons, but one is the most potent: They are all speaking about the life of a man named Nicholas Nickleby. And so, his adventures were brought to life by the cast of Langley High School’s The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

The production first opened on Broadway in 1981, as an 8 1/2-hour play based on David Edgar’s adaptation of the popular Charles Dickens novel. The show begins with the Nicholas leading his family to the home of his ruthless uncle, Ralph Nickleby, after his father passed away. Ralph sends Nicholas to work for an all-boys school to provide for his family, where Nicholas meets the despicable Mr. Squeers and his equally abhorrent wife. After watching the boys be beaten and be forced into a form of slavery, Nicholas soon realizes the danger they’re in and chases off the repulsive Squeers family. He goes on the run with an orphan from the school, Smike, and their adventurous life together begins.

The cornerstone of Langley High School’s production was the versatile cast, many of whom had to play multiple characters. Whether an actor was playing one large role or two small ones, most of the company had clearly taken great strides in character development. Though some sub-stories of the plot came off slightly underdeveloped, many of the actors helped to create one bold, clear storyline.

A few cast members were clear standouts due to their ability to draw the audience in with their believable onstage physicality and use of the set and space, particularly Nicholas Nickleby himself (Chris Paul). He captured the character with his well-projected line delivery; every word was full of meaning and inflection. His portrayal of Nicholas displayed his ability to believably convey a range of emotion, from despair to comedy.

The supporting cast effectively filled in the story’s gaps, and actors were able to shine even in smaller parts. The character of Mr. Squeers (Charlie Wier) had the audience chortling with his farcical facial expressions and compelling adoption of a class structure accent. Fanny Squeers (Rokhsane Mahmaudi) effortlessly captured a teenager of the time period with her overly dramatic mannerisms, both vocally and physically. Though there were many ensemble units in the show, the Crummels’ acting troupe sucked the audience into the plot with their theatrical, over the top tendencies and ability to play off of each other.

One technical aspect that helped to enhance the show was the creation and use of props, specifically the wheelchair, which appropriately captured the Victorian era. Though the lighting for transitions was a bit bright, costumed stage hands adapted well and stayed in character, producing smooth transitions.

Overall, the cast of Langley High lit up the stage with appropriate physicality, use of stage space, and chemistry with other actors, producing a believable conveyance of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

by Katelyn Sparks of South County High School

Photo Gallery

Shahier Paracha and Chris Paul Charlie Weir and Vivian Vaeth
Shahier Paracha and Chris Paul
Charlie Weir and Vivian Vaeth
Chris Paul, Madeleine Chalk and Nick Regan Kathleen Welch, Andrew Rhee, Vanessa Strahan, Chris Paul and John Bucy
Chris Paul, Madeleine Chalk and Nick Regan
Kathleen Welch, Andrew Rhee, Vanessa Strahan, Chris Paul and John Bucy
Krista Hackmeier, Shahier Paracha and Chris Paul
Krista Hackmeier, Shahier Paracha and Chris Paul

Photos by Belva Hayden

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is a program which was founded in 1999, for the purpose of celebrating high school theater arts and providing a learning opportunity for theater and journalism students. You can learn more at cappies.com.

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